Revamped Disney store attracts hundreds of eager fans

Hundreds of locals waited two hours in line on Sunday to see the grand re-opening of the Glendale Galleria’s Disney Store.

Lyn Capulong of Burbank waited an hour and a half with her 4-year-old daughter and husband — all three of them wearing silver Mickey Mouse ears, a free giveaway for the first 500 people to show up.

“I wanted to see it,” she said. “I wanted to be here.”

The remodeled store on the Galleria’s first floor near the food court is strategic, according to Jeff Zimmerman, regional director for West Coast Disney stores.

“We were looking for an opportunity to get to where the kids congregate,” he said.

Today, there are more than 200 Disney stores across the U.S. and more than 100 in the U.K. Japan has 40 stores alone. But since 2010, Disney has been converting stores in the image of the interactive location in Times Square, where new technology engages children as they move through the retail floor.

Princess castles are outfitted with bejeweled “magic” mirrors, in front of which children wave items like headbands or wands to bring up various digital scenes with one of nine Disney princesses.

At the store’s theater nook, children can color with crayons or touch a screen to clips, music and cartoons from a virtual database.

A blue “Pixie Dust Trail” at the entrance winds through the shop with merchandise off to the side in various themes. Translucent trees convey the seasons of the year, project animated characters and feature Mickey Mouses hidden in the animation for children to find.

A personalized mural on the walls of Glendale’s store depicts Disney characters walking or flying among the city’s landmarks, such as the Alex Theatre and City Hall. Snow White’s silhouette is seen walking near Casa Adobe de San Rafael and Buzz Lightyear is near Walt Disney’s first Imagineering studio on Flower Street.

Up to 10 times each week, Zimmerman said the store will offer story hours and animation classes for children.

“For adults, we do a lot of different trivia classes,” he added. “So [it’s] a lot of fun, day or night, to find an oasis away from the mall and the everyday world."

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

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